Achilles tendonitis is an injury to the tendon that connects your calf muscle to your heel. This injury may or may not be painful and may include a bump on the tendon in the injured area. It can be the result of the tendon getting overstretched traumatically but is more often the result of the repetitive overuse strain from running. Acutely it is characterized by inflammation but as time goes on it is considered more of a chronic, weakening of the tendon and is called tendinosis. In this case, the tendon is prone to rupture.
What Causes It?
In some cases, small tears can build up over time from repetitive strain if they are not allowed to heal in between runs. Or, a sudden large tear can occur during a hard run or race. In both cases, local pain, inflammation, and thickening of the tendon may result. Following is a list of predisposing factors:
- Excessive pronation (some pronation is necessary for shock absorption)
- Running hills more than 2 days/week
- Changing shoes less often than every 3-6 months
- Very tight calves
- Frequent history of ankle sprains
- Playing cutting/jumping sports in addition to running
- Wearing shoes with high heels often/shoes with unnecessary heel lifts
- Working on your feet on hard floors
- Forefoot running in certain people
- Sciatic nerve tension or a history of low back problems
To know which factors are causing your problem might require some detective work, although certain factors, such as getting new shoes, putting a cushioned rubber mat in your work space, and stretching your calves are things you can address yourself.